US Open Ladies Singles Day 5: Over-rated Stephens vulnerable against Barty

Maria Sharapova is among the heavy favourites in action on day five...
Maria Sharapova is among the heavy favourites in action on day five...

Friday's third round ladies singles matches include a number of bigger names than the men's schedule tonight, and our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, returns to look at the betting value...

"Anyone who has followed Stephens' career over the last few years will be fully aware that she both flatters to deceive often, and that she's a market favourite, and when you factor in that she's converted 51.5% of break point chances despite winning a mere 42.4% of return points (6.8% over performance) as well as a small over performance on service break points, it's easy to see why I like Barty here."

Favourites prosper in women's event


As with Wednesday night, most of the women's favourites progressed last night into round three, and we are certainly in the rare position of having more upsets in the men's event - where favourites traditionally dominate - than in the ladies tournament.


Kvitova not showing pre-injury level


The result of favourites performing well in the ladies singles is that there are a number of exciting, and also quite even-looking clashes in today's third round action, with a fascinating match in prospect in the opener, which sees Petra Kvitova take to the court against Caroline Garcia.

Kvitova is the 1.625/8 favourite to make it into Sunday's fourth round, and while I make her favourite, I do make this a little closer than the market. Quite simply, the Czech hasn't hit nearly her best level since her return to tour - as illustrated by holding 73.4% and breaking 34.6% (combined 108.0%) - and these numbers would not make her one of the favourites for the title.


Makarova form over-valued by market


Next up, we see the in-form Ekaterina Makarova face Carla Suarez Navarro, and with the Spaniard having won the last four head to head meetings, and leading their personal series 6-2, it's difficult to make a case for Makarova at 1.654/6.

As is often the case, the market is over-rating recent form more than I'd agree with in the case of Makarova, and this is also the case for Sloane Stephens, who quite bizarrely is favourite at 1.824/5 against one of the most improved players on tour, not to mention one with incredible potential, in Ashleigh Barty.


Stephens another expected to suffer mean-reversion


I've gone on and on about mean-reversion and over-performance on break points for a long time and Stephens fits completely into this profile, with the market grossly over-rating the American after winning 10 of 14 matches since her return to tour from a long-term injury.

Anyone who has followed Stephens' career over the last few years will be aware that she both frequently flatters to deceive, and is a perennial market favourite, and when you factor in that she's converted 51.5% of break point chances despite winning a mere 42.4% of return points (6.8% over performance) as well as a small over performance on service break points, it's easy to see why I like Barty here.

The Australian youngster has won 62.8% of service points and 44.0% of return points this year and this makes her around top 10 level, and taking odds against on Barty really is the bet of the day on the women's schedule.


Muguruza, Williams and Sharapova among big names in action


I didn't find any pre-match value on any of today's remaining matches, but that doesn't mean that there aren't some interesting matches in prospect, with the likes of Garbine Muguruza, Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova all heavy favourites.

All three look correctly priced and it would be a surprise if any of them were severely tested by their lower level opponents this evening.


Recommended Bets

Back Ashleigh Barty at 2.206/5 to beat Sloane Stephens


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